Big changes to come in a shrunken world
Tuesday 17 March, London
📌 Yesterday the British Prime Minister asked all Britons to cut unnecessary contact and travel. This means that from this day on, for an unspecified period, this diary becomes the diary of a hermit.
My wife and I could be holed up in our apartment for months until the government and the nation’s institutions have found a way to manage the virus crisis. This is where I’ll watch the world from now on. Most of it out of our window on the Golden Lane Estate, London EC1.
📌 Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter are becoming the valuable human tools they always had the potential to be. They’ll probably become even more important from now on as distant family and friends keep in touch and local communities organise themselves in the absence of anything useful from our governing bodies.
Facebook has been known in the past for its ability to murder irony and sarcasm, but even that might be about to change. We are at the start of a global revolution.
📌 Big, irreversible changes are underway and the UK government is still spewing nonsense in an attempt to keep the old order in place. It will probably work for a while, but over time a new way of life will emerge. Part of a very fearful me finds this exciting.
📌 Virgin, it seems, are asking employees to take unpaid leave. Aldi have announced rationing. Speaking of which, Chris posted this on Twitter last night.
with this screenshot.
📌 There’s a lot of verbal activity here on the estate. Groups are forming, policies drafted, etc. It could bring people together in the way no studied community-building initiative ever could have. Or am I just trying to find something positive that might come out of this apocalypse?
There are a few bossy people dominating at the moment but it’s nice to see also some quieter “cultural architects” (Sarah, Alice) stepping forward. Yes, it’s very likely that our saviours will be women. Locally, at least.
📌 There were quite a fews locals in Waitrose. We got some toilet rolls and hot-cross buns. Lots of grumbling about the council’s failure to help those who need it, or even to keep us informed of developments.
The neighbours we bumped into were genuinely pleased to see a familiar face. It’s a reminder of the isolation and loneliness felt by many who live on their own.
📌 Pictures of the insides of things will certainly test my powers of invention in the coming weeks. We have kitchen cupboards full of supplies, so that is my subject today: ‘World of Interiors: Store Cupboards’
📌 The UK government has announced a £330bn package of loans to businesses. Part of me thinks this is a good thing, part of me thinks that it is the job of the banks to support businesses in difficult times, not national governments.
This from a prime minister who once was reported Saying, “Fuck business” when making a case for Britain to leave the European Union.
We are back to the old question of whether governments should allow businesses to fail. Former Labour leader Ed Miliband thinks not. We are all in this together, he argues, and punts the idea of a Universal Basic Income.
📌 Thank god for Michael Portillo’s ridiculous clothes to keep us entertained.
📌 The lockdown has brought it home to me how important travel had become to our lives. This wasn’t always the way it was. As a child, we holidayed in Britain once a year, usually in Cornwall or the Isle of Man. And warm Summer Sundays in North Wales, maybe.
📌 We’ve also learned to use sporting fixtures as a clock. It gave time structure.
Pop Quiz… Name that Tune…
“So needless to say
I’m odds and ends
But I’ll be stumbling away
Slowly learning that life is okay
Say after me
It’s no better to be safe than sorry”